31 Aug Instagram’s removing their Story swipe up function. Here’s what we know.
Becoming part of the ‘10k followers club’ on Instagram has always been a milestone goal for creators and small businesses.
That’s because once you hit 10k on IG, you gain access to the exclusive Story swipe up function. But now this goal could be made redundant, as Instagram’s killed off the Story swipe up and replaced it with a new link sticker.
After small tests started back in June, many are speculating that anyone, no matter their follower count, could finally be able to add external links to their Stories if this feature rolls out to all users.
To put some conspiracies to bed, here’s everything we know about the death of the swipe up and the release of the new link sticker.
What is the new link sticker?
Just like Instagram’s poll and question stickers, the link sticker is a new interactive feature that users can add to their Stories and drive viewers to an external site, such as an ecommerce site or blog. External links in Stories are now to be tapped, instead of swiped.
As of August 30, the link sticker is replacing the swipe up function. However, small tests for the link sticker started at the end of June to learn how people might take advantage of links. Tests were to understand the types of links people share, while keeping a close eye on the spread of misinformation and spam.
Who can use link stickers?
At the moment, only users who had access to the swipe up function before this update will be able to use link stickers. This will now be the only way these users can add external links to their Stories. However, it’s possible that Instagram will roll link stickers out to all users in the future, given all of their other Story stickers aren’t exclusive to certain users.
Why has the swipe up functionality been replaced?
#1 Instagram wants to streamline how Stories are created. Besides reactions and replies, the Story swipe up was the only interactive Story feature that wasn’t a sticker. Story stickers help users express themselves and share what matters to them. So now all of Instagram’s interactive Story features can be found and used in one spot.
#2 The platform wants to give users more creative control. Like other stickers, users can tap on the link sticker to toggle between styles and place it anywhere on the Story frame for maximum performance and impact.
#3 They hope it’ll drive more engagement. Users will now be able to receive quick reactions and replies on Stories that have the link sticker. With the swipe up experience, viewers weren’t able to quickly reply or react to linked stories.
Can link stickers only be used in organic Stories?
Yes. Link stickers are only available to use in organic Stories. For Story ads, the CTA is still the swipe up function.
It’s also worth noting that creators can still add a Paid Partnership tag on organic Stories that have used the link sticker. But given this tool was in the same location as the now non-existent swipe up tool, you will see a new “Branded Content” tool in the top left menu of your Stories editing screen.
However, the ability for brands to promote Stories with the Paid Partnership tag plus a link sticker will be disabled. So it’s best practice to avoid using the link sticker on content that you plan to promote as ads.
How does the link sticker work?
Following Instagram’s advice, here’s how to use the link sticker:
#1 Capture or upload content to your Story.
#2 Navigate to the sticker menu.
#3 Tap the ‘link’ sticker, then you’ll be prompted to add your desired external link.
#4 Place the sticker anywhere on your story frame, tap to change styles, pinch or expand to alter its size, then tap ‘share’.
#5 Your Story with the link sticker will be live for viewers to interact with for 24-hours.
Pro tip: Check out how your link sticker performed under the Story’s Insights. This will tell you how many users clicked the link sticker. It’s yet to be confirmed if you can see who clicked the sticker, like you can with the poll and emoji slider stickers.